Ahead of the governorship election in Edo and Ondo States, Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has ordered a nationwide clampdown on illegal proliferation of firearms in the country.
Adamu directed Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the thirty-six states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to immediately “initiate appropriate actions to identify, isolate, disarm, arrest and prosecute any individual(s) or group(s) in possession of prohibited firearms”.
This is coming as the two main rival parties in Edo – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) – continue to accuse each other of importing and stockpiling arms in the state, purportedly to intimidate and harass electorates at the forthcoming polls.
According to a statement signed and issued by Frank Mba, the Force spokesperson, on Sunday, the IGP’s directive was part of efforts by the Police High Command to curb the proliferation of prohibited firearms in the country.
Mba noted that the directive “has become necessary against the backdrop of the deliberate arming and movement of political thugs and other criminal elements across the country”.
“The directive is targeted at addressing the proliferation and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms in the country which is contrary to the provisions of Chapter F.28 LFN 2004 of the Firearms Act,” he noted in the statement.
“In a similar vein, Commissioners of Police in all the States of the Federation and the FCT have been directed to immediately convene an enlightenment meeting of all vigilante groups and quasi security outfits spread across the country in order to ensure that their activities are in conformity with the extant laws guiding their establishment and operations.
“The IGP, while observing that several civil groups – vigilantes, quasi states and regional security outfits under various guises are arming themselves with prohibited firearms and weapons in contravention of the provisions of the Firearms Act, notes that the trend if unchecked, will pose serious threat to national security.”
The Force spokesperson further noted that the IGP urged citizens to cooperate with the Police in the enforcement of the order.
He added that the directive was aimed at “ensuring safety of lives and property in the country”.
The Edo governorship election comes up on September 19, while that of Ondo comes up on October 10.